Under McVay, the Rams become whatever they need to be
In week 11 the Kansas City Chiefs did battle with the Los Angeles Rams on a Monday night in LA. 1001 total yards and 105 points later, the world had just witnessed one of the most dominant offensive performances in the history of pro football. In this game, the Rams utilized play action to terrorize Kansas City. Quarterback Jared Goff threw his Rams to victory to the tune of 413 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Rams played true to their identity as a team, unafraid to either sling it or dump it off to superstar back Todd Gurley in the backfield. They operated out of bunch formations and trips throughout the evening, keeping their receivers in tight- rarely further than 7 yards from the tackle or tight end on either end of the play-side hash. The recipe for success on this night was Goff’s arm moreso than Todd Gurley’s legs. In fact, the Rams only posted 76 total rushing yards on the evening.
Indeed, the Rams struggled running the ball in the first half against the Chiefs. Their opening drive consisted of two rushing attempts, and neither one really got them ahead of the chains. But following a penalty on 1st and goal on the Chief’s 7-yard line, it was a prime opportunity to run the football again.
Instead, this happened.
.@JaredGoff16 ➡️ @robertwoods to kick off #MNF!#LATogether | #KCvsLA pic.twitter.com/LuS1JQDqwo
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) November 20, 2018
I cannot speak to what version of the Rams the Cowboys expected to run into during the NFC divisional playoffs, but something tells me it was more of what the Rams showed the league in week 11 vs the Chiefs.
Instead, this happened.
.@cjandersonb22 puts the #LARams on top with a strong TD run!@RamsNFL lead 13-7. #NFLPlayoffs
📺: #DALvsLAR on FOX pic.twitter.com/6PZUhl2nDH
— NFL (@NFL) January 13, 2019
To Dallas, it must have felt like looking into a mirror. A Los Angeles team that played a physical ground game out Cowboyed the Dallas Cowboys on that Saturday night. If someone had told you before the game that one of the teams would run for 273 yards and only gain 186 through the air, you probably would have believed (and justifiably so) that it was our very own Dallas Cowboys.
To beat the Chiefs, the Rams played like the Chiefs. To beat the Cowboys, well, the Rams played like the Cowboys.
What is my point?
It has been well documented that McVay is comfortable calling plays quickly and in reaction to what he sees from opposing defenses. He is not the type of coach that feels that a play must be carried through if a better opportunity arises just because he cannot think fast enough to change it.
The play attached below was an audible called in the first half vs Dallas. The result was utterly catastrophic.
Gurley goes 35 yards without being touched! #DALvsLAR pic.twitter.com/TWIgfhxWMS
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) January 13, 2019
McVay is able to do this because he has an encyclopedic understanding of the game of football; and if anything reported in Todd Archer’s report on offensive coordinator Kellen Moore is true, maybe Moore has the “McVay factor” as well.
“We’re grinding on this one thing for like 20 minutes, maybe longer. Kellen comes in after lunch, sat down casually and just within a minute or two gets up and points his finger on the screen, ‘Look, you can do this, which will make this guy do this and then that guy will do this and we can do this,’” said Orlovsky, who is now an ESPN analyst. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Uh-oh, this is a smart dude.’ I’m going in thinking I’m a shoo-in for the backup job and it’s, ‘Oh, this kid is really smart. He’s going to make me earn this job.’ But my main thing was, ‘Dude, how did your brain work like that?’ That was an example, to me, that he was probably going to be a good coach one day.”
This is not the only testimony to Moore’s football genius. It has been well documented by multiple sources since his arrival in Dallas. Is he a mini McVay? I guess we’ll know next January if Moore is the shot in the arm this team needs to take the next step.
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